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tv   AM Joy  MSNBC  April 8, 2017 7:00am-9:01am PDT

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terminix. defenders of home. longer-term status of president assad will be decided by the syrian people. >> hello, everyone. welcome to "am joy," that was
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secretary of state rex tillerson last thursday saying it was up to the syrian people to decide what to do about their dictator bashar al assad. exactly one week later on thursday april 6th, the trump administration executed as sharp a u-turn in foreign policy as we have seen in modern history. in particular when it comes to the u.s. posture toward syria and it's now six-year long civil war, which by some estimates killed 500,000 people. one week after essentially rex tillerson said it's not our problem trump ordered an attack, his owen citizens rebelling against the rule, horrific images splashed across american media. how much of this u-turn was a change of heart by donald trump or how much of a u-turn was this change of heart by donald trump? well, trump has been clear about opposing any u.s. intervention in syria since at least 2013
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when he posted tweets like these posted at then president barack obama. what i am saying is stay out of syria. in all caps, again, to our very foolish leader, do not attack syria. if you do, many bad things will happen. from that fight the u.s. gets nothing! . the white house trump's involvement went well beyond what could generously called benign neglect when he tried to pass not one but two legally contested travel bans against syrian refugees and five other muslim majority countries. what happened between trump believing attacking syria was foolish and his decision to launch 59 cruise missiles at syrian airfield over dinner with chinese delegation at mar-a-lago? well 24 hours before the airstrike donald trump made a major change to his national security circle. on wednesday trump signed and order ousting his chief strath
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strategist steve bannon from national securities committee, unprecedented position bannon held because of an executive order he put in front of trump to sign back in january. the new order restored principles to the committee and added energy secretary, cia director and u.n. ambassador to the group. that's important for two reasons. one having to do with policy and oth other, one who pushed him out. replaced general michael flynn as national security adviser h.r. mcmaster and trump's son-in-law, extra adviser 34-year-old jared kushner, who just this week visited iraq with joint chiefs chairman. we'll talk more about kushner's role in the white house later. that's not all. on thursday morning, the same day of the syria strikes, in response to numerous accusations of ethics violations for his
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handling of classified information included possibly coordinating with the white house through a top nsc staffer in the dead of night, devin nunes stepped down from his role in investigation of russia's attempt to help elect trump. speaking of russia, the nation backing assad's rule in syria is russia, and who the trump administration apparently gave a heads up before the administration's airstrikes. this week they found cia was briefing members of congress last august about russia, possibly coordinating with trump advisers to get trump into the white house. after all of these national security shakeups and new information about russia, the key question is this, what changed russia's mind on russian-backed assad regime and what was the point of these airstrikes. joining me representative barbara lee from california. councilwoman lee you're just the person we want to talk to on this. you have long opposed what you've seen as interference in
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the middle east and starting wars in the middle east you didn't see as justified. can you tell us in your view, at least from capitol hill, what you understand the purpose of these airstrikes to have been? >> joy, first of all, they are total chaos in the white house and total confusion, so it's hard to really understand what the purpose of the strike was. we have to really recognize that, first of all, assad has committed heinous crimes and killed so many people and the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. but also we have to really recognize that one surgical strike is not going to change that. actually it could embroil us more in a civil war in syria. it's hard to figure out why the president would do this. minimally he should come to congress to seek authorization and a vote because this is an active war and illegal. so for the life of me, people need to really ask the white house what in the world is going
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on because we do not need to get embroiled in a civil war but we have to come together and help figure out a political settlement to carnage taking place in syria. >> you talked about coming to congress. there were a number of interesting bed fellows made by this strike, among those that supported what donald trump did in congress, of course john mccain and lindsey graham and marco rubio long time hawks, house speaker ryan and several members of congress, including democrats, ellen engel -- eliot engel from new york and bill nelson from florida. if you want to call them anti-trump politicians what do you make of the capitol hill support particularly the conservative wing of these strikes? >> people really are shocked and angry about what is taking place with assad. but speaking for myself, and
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most members are saying now, that they think the president should have come to congress for a vote and authorization. we're in recess. the speaker should call us back right away to debate this. when you listen to the trump administration, they are talking about more to come. what is this? i say based on our moral commitment and humanitarian values, we need to call for a cease-fire right away. that's why we need to come back to congress so we can debate and come forth with a comprehensive strategy to begin to stop this carnage and this war that's taking place in syria. >> we have to, of course, talk about the russian piece of this, because we know that the assad regime is backed by russia, by vladimir putin's russia. the reaction from russia so far to the striking "new york times" reporting russia in addition to suspending a over syria, accord accidental encounters between the two militaries said it would bolster syria's air defense system and planning to send a
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frigate into the mediterranean sea to visit logistics based in tartus. in addition to that we also have reporting that the air base that was hit may not have been damaged all that much because syrian jets are still taking off from there. they are back to taking off from there, according to observers. are you concerned about an escalation with russia with what you described about the administration? >> i'm very concerned. this whole issue with russia is very troubling and very dangerous. i hope this doesn't sidetrack the public from really recognizing we have to have a bipartisan commission to look at all of the activities that russia that been engaged in in terms of undermining our democracy. yes, you know, assad and putin's russia and putin, they are very close. in fact, we need to know, and the public needs to know, the costs and consequences of what
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is taking place. we have to immediately, joy, when you look at what's taking place with children and men and women in syria, we have to insist at least we have a cease-fire and safe corridor so humanitarian assistance and medicines and food can get in there. we have to just stop and put a halt to this war mongering and this march to war because it is, in fact, very dangerous. it is, in fact, not going to keep our troops and our country any safer. this was an act of war, and it was illegal what the president did. >> congressman barbara lee, thank you very much for your time. i really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you. joining me now, malcolm nantz, author of "plot to attack america" author of "how to catch a russian spy" and spokes persons nariyah hack. a point made by congresswoman lee, what we did, this strike, was an act of war and illegal.
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from having worked in the state department, what is your assessment of that? >> that's the argument about 2013. president obama had essentially the same plan ready and several plans ready from the military, because that's what the military does, has options available for commander in chief to use and decision made to consult congress. congress at the time was not interested in getting the the united states, neither was the public interested in getting united states embroiled in yet another war in the middle east. we don't have a good history there, particularly after what happened with the military intervention in iraq. consult with congress, make a case to the american people before a commander in chief should go -- make a military strike or go to war. on the other side, you have the argument of looking decisive. that's certainly what people say president trump has done. he has looked decisive. he has looked different from obama. there is a lot of room between decision and dithering. that's a room we're trying to fill right now and understand
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what is actually the goal here. yes, he looks different than obama. nobody would ever confuse president trump for president obama. yes, he knocked off several things from the headlines of the front pages that otherwise would have been news stories on their own. but the question is, is this about removing assad? is this about helping the syrian people? that being the case there, should be more military intervention followed by plans to diplomacy and pressure bring to bear to make assad and other people pay attention. >> i think that was the point. what was the point hitting an air base used again thereafter, no evidence they destroyed any aircraft or did anything of that nature, destroyed chemical weapons capability. from your point of view strategically, did this have any point? >> well, it had a point for donald trump. right off the bat the defense department responded to his request. the question is what resip ta d
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precipitated the united states had to act because it was a decisive decision off the bat. the question is, was it a shoot from the hip type of action he wanted to project? we projected a demonstration of american firepower. that's what we projected. we put out 59 cruise missiles and we showed to everyone in the region we can once again launch cruise missiles. militarily we struck the targets we aimed at. however we put in several factors which didn't allow for any real on the ground tangible change to the situation. we literally warned the russians we were going to strike the base. the russians warned the syrians. they left the base. we only struck, as i understand, six to 20 aircraft. those an chebt aircraft, when i was a young baby, those aircraft were old. they will now be placed with new
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state-of-the-art russian aircraft with a much bigger capacity. the last thing that's worse, that inghimasi this mission failure, we did not strike the chemical weapons. we didn't destroy them. we left them intact. this was supposed to allow, i guess, russia to influence the syrians, to set them aside or put them aside. i don't know. all i know is syrians can now hide those chemical weapons and prepare for their use in advance. so right there -- as i said, a visual effect, a giant fireworks display, a very precise weapons systems but total mission failure because assad can now use those exact same chemical weapons. >> naveed, hanging over all this, "new york times" information came back way back in august cia had potential coordination between trump campaign and russians. russians got a heads up. the state department, by the way, did not. russians still operating and
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still supporting assad. what do you think this says about the trump-russia connection and trump-russia relationship? >> i'm not suret says much about the larger issue of the investigation. what i am concerned about, what we've seen with russia, they are experts about manipulating information and propaganda. there is something to that in regards to syria. we look back at '95 and bosnia. we have to be very careful we have the international authority to act. there's this concept that was the preamble of united nations charter second world war, concept of crimes against humani humanity. i don't think anyone would argue our moral compass is pointing the right way striking assad after these horrendous attacks. that being said there needs to be international authority that gives united states the right to act. this was a sovereign state. it wasn't directly impacted by international security. russia will take that and use it in the international courts. it's very important we do that. also to malcolm's point, the
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idea we started to maybe do a slight dent in assad's capabilities, there's no doubt syrians will turn to russians, they said they would strengthen air defense system. that international consortium, something potentially at the u.n. would also block syria from building up its arm again. that is a huge part. so trump strategy must include some part of actually using the international system to go after assad. to not do so would actually leave russians a huge opportunity here to use this in a propaganda fashion against us. >> here is the random part, considering that i'm coming from diplomatic space, the challenge that we have with the international order right now is that it hasn't worked to prevent atrocities, kosovo, rwanda, now looking at syria. the united states is not the forum for strong moral leadership. >> and the state department's budget is being cut and undermined by this administration. very interesting. i guess we'll all be back.
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for more on the story check out my comment in "the daily beast," do the kids turn over and turn trump into w. shake-up. put the kids in charge. next former security adviser susan rice became the target of right wing conspiracieses. the real story is not what she was accused of doing but what she was doing and why. stay with us. on purchases she makes from that airline. what'd you earn double miles on, please? ugh. that's unfortunate. there's a better option. the capital one venture card. with venture, you earn unlimited double miles on every purchase, everywhere, every day. not just airline purchases. seems like a no-brainer. what's in your wallet? nitrites or artificial ham has preservatives.tes, now it's good for us all. like those who like. sweet those who prefer heat. sfx - a breath of air and those who just love meat. oscar mayer deli fresh.
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this is a tale of two national security advisers, susan rice and michael flynn, both of whom have held the job with the responsibility. rice under barack obama, flynn under donald trump of assessing threats to the security of the nation and counseling the president on how best to respond. this week a report by ely lake, a reporter at bloomberg claimed that one of them, susan rice, sought to learn members of trump
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campaign team who were in contact with foreign nationals, whose electronic communications were monitored by u.s. intelligence. in other words, susan rice was doing her job, attempting to assess whether a foreign power was threatening the security of the united states with the help of american co-conspirators. a trump according to donald trump. not the co-conspirators but susan rice. when asked if he thought susan rice had commit add crime, trump responded yes. that's long after trump's pick for national security adviser, michael flynn, was forced out of his position for lying about conversations he had with russian ambassador, conversations we learned about because of the very same kind of routine surveillance that susan rice was reviewing as part of her job. but when flynn, who has since become a key figure in investigations into the trump team's ties to russia sought to escape any future prosecution in exchange for testimony, donald trump thought that sounded like
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a great idea. back malcolm nance and naveed, good to have you here. defending what susan rice allegedly did in looking at unmasked intercepts. this is michael hayden. >> on its face, what i know about the susan rice unmasking story, what has gone here is unlawful, appropriate, and here is the punch line, pretty routine. not exceptional. one thing to keep in mind, that report doesn't get to her desk unless someone at ft. meade, nsa thinks it's has foreign intelligence. now she's making a request to better understand what we've already established is important for an intelligence. >> evelyn, we've now become accustomed to the right wing
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blogosphere that runs the current administration. a lot of people may not be as converse or forgotten what normal government looks like when it functions properly. in what you have seen of what susan rice is alleged to have done, asking to see both sides of intercepted communication is there anything remotely illegal or improper about it? >> no. the fink is what we've heard are a bunch of allegations that came out in a newspaper article. somebody was leaking how susan rice was handling classified information, intelligence. so that in and of itself is disturbing. when they leaked, they didn't give the full story because, of course, they would have been violating the law even further if they told us, or the reporter, that is, what it was susan rice was reading. i think it's very disturbing that these half stories are getting out into the press through these leaks and they are distracting us from the real investigation, the real problem here, which is that russia
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interfered in the u.s. elections in 2016, and the fbi is investigating that. the fbi is also investigating whether any americans were wittingly or unwittingly involved in the russia operation. >> this is susan rice defending herself. she was on with her own andrea mitchell yesterday trying to explain how government works, for those that don't know. >> the notion that which some people are trying to suggest that by asking for the identity of an american person that is the same as leaking it is completely false. there's no equivalence between so-called unmasking and leaking. i leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would. >> yet malcolm, you have a number of republican members of congress, including in the senate, people in government for quite some time claiming still, despite being in government and knowing commit add crime, three of them, rand paul, tom cotton, peter king, let's roll them. >> i believe susan rice abused
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the system, and she did it for political purposes. she needs to be brought in and questioned under oath. >> susan rice is the typhoid marry of the obama administration foreign policy. every time something went wrong, she seemed to turn up in the middle of it. >> right now to me there's more credible accusations, if you will against susan rice than president trump when it comes to russia. >> now, malcolm, you have the news from the "wall street journal" that our friends at the house intelligence committee would like her to come in and testify in the russia probe. what do you make of this? >> well, to be fair, this is a relatively amateurish white house. they have only just come into power. maybe the president was briefed up. nobody paid attention to special security office briefings or signed documents in top secret programs. it explains everything that goes on and you're supposed to know that. so were the veterans that came in. the congressional side i have no idea why they are on fubfuscati
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this. this needs to die. susan rice carried out a routine function. i've been involved in many operations where american citizens real names, real activities were collected realtime, then they were masked. then because of an operation like a hostage rescue or because of a major military activity or because of counter-intelligence, we needed to know that individual's name. their name would be unmasked there a serial number. i myself have been a victim -- not a victim but an operation where hostile officers were surveilling american citizen on intelligence mission. when counter-intelligence came they said you have shown up in traffic, your real name. we have unmasked so we can now do counter-surveillance against the agents. i was very appreciative of that because they were worried about an abduction risk.
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this is very, very common in the u.s. intelligence community. for them to suddenly say that unmasking and knowing american citizens names for their own defense, for their own cognizance for national security reasons at the pinnacle national security level of the united states, that's ludicrous. what it will do, this whole debate will harm american citizens in the future because people will be afraid at the operational level, national security agency, cia's counter-terrorism center if this thing is politicized. need to stop that. >> naveed, somebody who recently briefed democratic members, a brief boycotted by republicans, reported in the "daily beast," they didn't even bother to show up. in your view, not that you're going to take a political stance here, is this a willful ignorance of the process, politicization of the process in how do you characterize members of congress claiming routine activity by the national security adviser is a crime?
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>> you know, i went to d.c. this week without -- with an express purpose of actually briefing about my experience and more importantly to show what i think is a slight deficiency how we do counter-intelligence. honestly, it still kinds of functions in the ways we did it during the cold war and that's changed. i went there and told democrats who attended and other members was that, you know, russians have changed. they are no longer trying to recruit intelligence officers or fighter pilots. what they are looking for are bankers, legitimate access through business, which is what i experienced. now, that whole point, it's not a political statement, not a partisan one. we need to bring counter-intelligence up to speed to morph it, address the change, the threat in itself has changed. not partisan, the fact that i was boycotted from what i thought was -- this was months in planning. i gave the brief in advance. it was frankly a partisan decision. i think there's a lot of work to be done here.
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to focus on susan rice, not focus on something that is a real threat, how to change against national security, i think that speaks volumes. >> yes, it does. we will leave it at that. malcolm nance, evelyn, thank you very much. coming up, when all else fails, you go to jared. that's next.
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white house senior adviser and dmpz son in laul jared kushner in iraq to discuss the fight against sis. u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson has not yet been to iraq and kushner has. that's not all that's been added to kushner's growing to do list. with that we bring you this original "am joy" report. we may not know the details of donald trump's business empire, one thing we know when it comes to running his company or united states government, for that matter, it's all in the family.
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that includes 36-year-old jared ca kushner, husband of ivanka, a son-in-law he prizes like a fine piece of jewelry. >> he went to jared. >> he goes to jared a lot despite his lack of experience in diplomacy and politics, kushner is now one of the most important people in the country. at the table during a briefing on u.s. military strike, as well as serving as senior adviser in the white house, overhauling federal government as head of new white house office of american innovation and acting as a shadow diplomat. when trump needed an aide to go on high-profile mission to baghdad to meet iraqi minister and discuss isis he didn't go to secretary of state, he went to -- >> he went to jared. >> when he needed trustee adviser, mar-a-lago trip, working with senators on justice reform, reimagine affairs and solve the nation's opioid
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crisis -- >> he went to jared. >> when he needed someone to broker peace in the middle east he said this about kushner the night before the inauguration. >> he's great. if you can't produce peace in the middle east, nobody can. >> what makes kushner qualified to solve decades long battle in the middle east, no one knows. again, kendall jenner did solve racism this week with just a blond and a pepsi, am i right? his most important qualification was he put a ring on it. we're guessing the ring did not come from jared. >> up next my panel goes to jared. stay here. per roll more "doing chores for dad" per roll more "earning something you love" per roll
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trouble is brewing in trump land as the missile strike in syria puts a spotlight on west wing feud between strategist steve bannon and senior adviser
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and trump son-in-law jared kushner. both men inside the mar-a-lago situation room for the briefings on strikes. bannon had argued against the strike because it didn't advance trump's america first doctrine while kushner and others argued needed to punish for the chemical attack. former dnc chair howard dean, elizabeth spears former editor-in-chief "new york observer" and former breitbart media consultant. thank you for being here. elizabeth, i want to come to you first. jared kushner has been given massive portfolio. let's look at his jobs. shadow diplomat, ahead of american innovation, reimagining veterans affairs, solving opioid crisis, brokering middle east peace, what makes him able to do that. >> i would say he's a good multi-tasker but no one is that
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good a multi-tasker. i think trump's logic in giving him those things, a, they are things he doesn't want to handle himself. it may be things jared putting up his hand and saying i'm interested in that. it may be simple, no overarching strategy. >> is he a trump like personality? >> he can be. his temperament is a little different. he's not going to be boisterous as trump is but they share some personality traits. >> on the other side you have people quite angry about kushner's role. the airstrikes produced a tweet storm of some of donald trump's supporters, alt-right, far right, paul joseph watson, one of these alt riders saying he's getting off the trump tim kaine. ann coulter saying he said he said be president of the united
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states. on board, compete apology change. what do you make of bannonite wing's reaction to this. >> they are concerned they are about to lose their link to the west wing and direct access to the president through steve bannon. clearly steve is under siege right now. the fact that so many on the conservative right so forcefully came out against the actions of the president and strikes in syria just tells you how much trouble steve actually really is in. if this were just a case of palace intrigue and jealousy and people mouthing offer to the press and there wasn't any substance to it, you wouldn't see this type of velocity in their reaction, but they are really going out there publicly hammering jared kushner aligned strategies because they see steve could be in jeopardy and could be asked to leave at some point in the near future. >> you've seen also, stay with you, curt, some of the language start to seep out of bannon himself. reports in the "daily beast" he
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called jared kushner a cuck and globalist. the reason they can't work together is you're a democrat. this language of cuck and globalist, can you explain to those that might not be familiar with the lippingo. >> code words, those familiar with the alt-right and read platforms like breitbart regularly, they know exactly what that means. essentially, they are not with us, not one of us, don't put america first, different agenda alt-right. they are the enemy. those code words, very deliberately. moreover, seeing what happens when you take somebody used to being a principle, in charge, never being in question and ask him to serve at the pleasure of somebody else and work in coordination with other people, it doesn't work. people like that don't know how to collaborate with people. >> howard, you have a lot of people sort of having these background conversations.
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it's between nazi right, alt-right, people very concerning in terms of their racial and ethnic views running things or having the new york democrats running things. people like we'd rather have new york democrats. however, kushner is not free from problems him selves. he doesn't disclose meetings with russians according to "new york times" on his security clearance forms which could be problematic, michael flynn being problematic. he has incredible debt. 666 fifth avenue is deep in debt. he's been looking to chinese banks to finance the debt. $1.2 billion interest only mortgage. he's not free of problems either. >> he's not. look, this is a chaotic administration. i actually happen to think that as a policy intervening in chemical warfare is a good thing. however, we don't have any idea if this is policy or strategy. i'm like most americans, i have no idea what donald trump really believes. here is what i do know.
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one, i don't know anything about jared kushner but i know about steve bannon. steve bannon is a white supremacist. he has no right to be in the white house. no right to have his values influence the president of the united states. as soon as he goes the better. i don't care who replaces him. obviously i care. jared kushner from the little i know about him is a far better candidate, a 36-year-old, than a white supremacist who hates jews. i don't think somebody like that belongs in the white house. i can't imagine why trump put him in there in the first place. the sooner he leaves, the better for america. >> he's there with three or four people with questionable views. >> i assume they will go with him. >> the question people have is how does jared kushner abide, he and his wife are jewish. >> i think there's a specific liberal fantasy jared and ivanka
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in the white house to moderate trump in some way or moderate this administration. i'm not sure that's the case. i think they are very utilitarian about it. i don't think it was jared's choice to have to work with steve bannon, i think his logic staying there, this might be part of the price i have to pay to be here. >> what do you think happens to donald trump's base of support if ultimately bannon is pushed out. >> if bannon is pushld out open warfare from the outside in. breitbart incredibly generous to donald trump to say the least will start turning their fire on him or assign blame saying trump betrayed conservative right, alt-right because jared kushner and liberal democrats inside the white house have turned them against us and you'll see open warfare. >> one of the chilling tweets that you saw this week was from richard spencer, the known white supremacist who said the following about jared kushner. nobody voted for kushner many of
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us voted against people like kushner getting power. >> it doesn't matter what breitbart says, that diminishes breitbart to the extent that nobody gives a damn. >> their associations being in the white house is chilling in and of itself. thank y thank you. one thing they are sure to do, distract americans from his okay russia scandal. stay with us. you don't let anything
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>> thanks to all our viewers and tweets who bring the fire to the conversation at hashtag "am joy." make sure you join in on facebook and snapchat and instagram @joy-ann reid. bad press, nothing knew. who's with me? we're like a basketball team here at ally. if a basketball team had over 7... i'm in. 7,000 players.
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nothing newful. 24 hours later, that was their m.o. change the story, change the lead. >> we can't afford a war. >> we're not going to have a war. we're going to have the appearance of a war. >> in the 1997 movie, "wag of the dog," the white house conjures up a war to distract attention from the president's sex scandal. to some, the movie seemed especially prescient when bill clinton ordered air strikes in afghanistan and sudan while in the midst of the monica lewinsky scandal. once again, a president is in trouble at home, this over his ties to russia and flailing in the polls. launches a military strike overseas. sounds like paranoia? well, consider this tweet from donald trump back in 2013. now that obama's poll numbers are in a tailspin, watch for him to launch a strike on libya and iran. he is desperate. joining me now is joe conson,
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editor-in-chief of the national memo. and syria, the first step down, a dangerous road. joe, thank you for being here. >> good to be with you. >> we were talking in the break that this whole idea that bill clinton was doing wag the dog when he attacked -- when he launched missile strikes into afghanistan, you object to even the notion of that. >> well, i think anybody who wants to say that should say it to the face of general anthony zippy and the other national security officials who approved those strikes a long with president clinton. in other words, anybody who says that is saying that the general and others involved with our national security apparatus at that time were going along with this nefarious strategy of starting a -- you know, using a military strike to distract from president's personal problems, which i think was not true. i think clinton was aware that that would be said when he did that. and that when he talked to
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general zinny and others on the national security staff about whether this was the right thing to do, they all agreed that it was. so -- you know, i don't see anything comparable. also, the other reason it's not a valid comparison is that here we've had trump do a 180 spin from where he was a week ago. >> in 24 hours. >> in 24 hours. you know, president clinton was, you know, consistent in his policy towards terrorism and the use of military force on occasion to deal with those issues. >> yes. >> whether you think that sudan strike was the right thing to do in retrospect or not. >> right. moving on to president obama, because it does seem there is a pattern. that when democratic presidents take military action, there is intense skipicism. when republicans take on military action, everyone takes on a flag pin. so president obama went to congress to ask for authorization. >> as the republicans now urge
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the president to do, by the way. >> which they have now changed their position. donald trump himself said the president must get congressional approval before attacking syria. big mistake if he does not. that was in august 30 of 2013. then he said, very -- again to our very foolish leader. do not attack syria. if you do, very bad things happen. he then said, president obama do not attack sear yeah. he kept saying it. now not only does he think he can do it, but the republicans say sure, go for it. >> this is the only way they're consistent, which is that they will attack a democratic president for doing nothing and they'll attack him for doing anything. and they will always be on the attack that way. president obama did what donald trump urged him to do. and then afterwards, donald trump and other republicans, consistently attacked him as being weak. and vacillating. for not doing something at the time about syrian chemical weapons attack. which was, by the way, 20 times as bad as the one that we just saw last week. as bad as that was. if you want to measure these things.
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now they say, well, the strike that occurred the other day was proportional to what assad is accused of doing. and i don't -- i'm not sure they figure out what's proportional. they took out 20 war planes. that air base is still -- >> functioning. >> functioning. >> yeah. >> and they have no plan for what to do next. i hate to say that. because, you know, as an american, one would like to think that the national security staff, regardless of the president and jared kushner and the other people who don't know what they're doing there, that general mcmaster and others, general mattis, do know what they're doing. but i think it's hard for them to function in the environment they're in now. >> on the question of wag the dog, donald trump has very low approval ratings, down at 40, good for him at this point. his approval rating down to 33%. there is no evidence he looked at the poll numbers and said we're going to do a strike on syria. what it does appear, when general mattis and hr mcmaster and other sort of professionals, the few in the administration, went to him and said, here's some options we could do it. he did have a 24-hour
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turn-around. is there any reason to understand why? is this just because he was able to push bannan -- h.r. mcmaster was able to get rid of bannan? >> you notice that general mcmaster took jared kushner with him to iraq. and i think all that unfolded in the white house since then has happened, perhaps as a result of general mcmaster, who is a strategist, figuring out how to make an alliance for himself that would enable him to overcome bannan. from my point, that's not a bad thing. but the problem is that the president is reactive. whatever his reason for doing this, and i think there could be a host of reasons, including as he said, his emotional response to the pictures. i don't know why he wasn't paying attention to the pictures in 2013. >> yeah. >> but even if you believe that, the idea that there's no plan, that there is -- that we do things based on the president's emotional reaction to pictures on tv is not a safe course for
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us. >> and we're out of time. can you imagine the uproar, if hillary clinton had won and chelsea clinton were as involved in policy as jared kushner or ivanka trump? >> or if a woman said she had an social response to pictures and made policy that way. i don't think that would go over well. >> we're going to have him back in our next hour. he's great. donald trump says the images on the electrocardiogrchemical d hick to take action. this is the same donald trump who weeks ago was trying to close our borders to refugees from syria. we'll discuss the presidential level hypocrisy. and the cheer while seeming to forget everything else that has transpired in the past ten weeks. which maybe was the point. all that and more in our second hour when "a.m. joy" returns after the break. the classes,
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when you kill innocent children, innocent babies -- babies. little babies. with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to hear what gas it was. that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line. many, many lines. even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. no child of god should ever suffer such horror. >> welcome back to "a.m. joy." but his own account, donald trump was so moved by the images of syrian children gassed by bashar al assad's forces that he reversed his nonintervention stance and bombed a syrian air field in response. if the images of suffering babies were enough to move trump to acknowledged as one aide said as a father and a grant father, what to make of his continuing commitment to slam the door on
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desperate refugees, men, women, children, and yes, babies, who were fleeing the atrocities in syria and around the world? i want to go back to a moment last february when candidate trump was asked about syrian refugee children attending school in the united states. >> i'm wondering if you would be able to look at these children in the face and tell them that they're not allowed to go to school. >> how long have they been here? >> some of them are here -- >> how long have they been here? >> some of them aren't here yet. >> i can look at their face and say you can't come. look, we have a country -- [ applause ] we don't know where their parents come from. >> at that point, the syrian civil war had been raging for five years. president bashar al assad had been accused of using chemical weapons against his own people, including children, and less than six months before that comment, trump couldn't have avoided seeing this photo. of 3-year-old allan kurdi, a
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syrian boy who drowned. joining me, nbc news contributor, girdadas, and the atlantic's david frum. i'm going to come to you first, both because i mangled your name. i'm still getting it. but you also -- we were talking in the break, have a story that donald trump could not have avoided, seeing before he was suddenly moved as a father and a grandfather. >> these things become so abstract. this saturday morning, let's not make it abstract. let's start with the story of these twins. they were born in the middle of last summer. >> hold it back up. >> i got it for you. >> and in the month they were born, donald trump converted his muslim ban proposal to a territorial ban. that was the beginning. and he on that -- with that
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proposal, banned aya and ahme did from the united states. the courts struck it down. when aya and ahmen were 6 months old, he formalized this ban with executive order. they are now bannedorll from entering the united states. when they were months old, learning to pull themselves up on sofas and things like that, he reinstated and tweaked the ban, but they were still banned. iraqis go iraqis got an exemption, but they were still banned. when they were 9 months old, starting to maybe master staircases and things like that, it was unfortunately too late for them. and they both died in the town in syria in the attack. and so this is their father. cradling the two of them. and so i just want to say, 59 t tomahawk missiles do not change the fact that for nine months of their lives, aya and ahmad were
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not only banned from the united states, from the love of our churches, ready to receive them from communities ready to help them, but they were told a story that they were dangerous. not terrorists, not members of groups, not people older than let's say 10 for the duration of their lives, they were shamed as millions of people have been shamed. and i just think it's very, very important to not -- so many people who are opponents of the president are now calling him heroic and presidential, because he unleashed some missiles. >> yep. >> he told those 9-month-old kids their whole lives, you can't come in. >> yeah. and eamon, told them going back to the campaign, there are so many stories like this. there is a 5-year-old, a little bit older, obviously, than these twins. who there was another very famous photo that everyone saw. he's in the back of an ambulance in aleppo. the images of him, and you can see him there, everyone saw this photo. this came out on august 17,
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2016. and this is donald trump's first general election, at the first general election ad he ran, three days later, on august 19th. take a look. >> hillary clinton's america, the system stays rigged against americans. syrian refugees flood in. illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay. collecting social security benefits, skipping the line. our border open. it's more of the same, but worse. >> so this idea that he had the sudden realization that there was atrocities going on in syria is just demonstrably not true based on his own advertising. >> it's one of the -- i guess c conundrums of politics. why an individual who has lived through, and in this case president trump, has seen and witnessed chemical gas attacks in syria. this is not the first, this is not the worst chemical gas attack to happen in syria. and it wasn't the first in the president trump presidency, believe it or not. there were at least three different other reports of alleged chemical attacks in the
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week prior to this attack. and none of those drew the kind of response or condemnation from president trump. not even a mention, let alone, say, you know what, these lines have now been crossed. so you do have to start to ask yourself, okay, what was the triggering mechanism for president trump to suddenly reverse course and 180 degrees and go in a completely opposite direction. you also have to ask yourself, did these 59 tomahawk cruise missiles save lives, did they end the war, bring us any closer to the end of the assad regime inside syria. and i'm not sure that anybody could make the argument that these 59 tomahawk missiles are bringing us any closer to a resolution of the conflict, even to saving lives. literally less than 24 hours after the u.s. carried out air strikes, syrian fighter jets were taking off from the air field, bombing other targets in the north of syria. i think it's much more nuanced than simply saying, people are saying the president was heroic, these measures were heroic. it's much more complex than that. it's disturbing to see that
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people are saying an act of war is somehow presidential when in reality, it doesn't bring us any closer to the end of the conflict which is what everybody wants. >> yeah, and david, from the other question that was raised in the minds of a lot of people is whether or not this, you know, pinprick operation, which i think that pretty much everyone agrees now, did not stop bashar al assad's capability of launching attacks on his own people, but whether it could create a bigger commitment. we have heard a lot of praise for donald trump, including from some folks, thinking this might be the beginning of a regime change operation. is that something that you foresee actually happening? >> we don't have an alternative. if we did are -- that's the core of the case against intervention in the syrian civil war. there is nobody in that war we're in favor. that was different from iraq. there are people in iraq we wanted to see in power there. is no one in syria we want to see in power. kind of a hard fight when you don't have something to fight in favor of.
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i want to say something with this refugee matter. just as we criticized president trump for striking syria based on an emotional response, we shouldn't make our refugee policy based on an emotional response. there are pictures for everything. there are pictures from stockholm, where four people were killed and dozens hurt. by a terror committed by an uzbekistan refugee. in london, a lot of shocking pictures from that. in that case, not by a refugee. >> i mean, be careful not to evoke -- i think when we're talking about refugees and you're invoking a london attacker. >> i just have a second sentence, if you don't mind. >> yeah, go ahead, have it. >> okay. yours are very fascinating, but i would like to have at least two or three. >> go ahead. >> look, what -- europe faces, this gigantic internal security problem from its second generation muslim die as practice, which creates tremendous problems of economic integration and national security. and those are true in every european country. there are pictures everywhere. if you're going to think
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rational knee about things, that's why god gave us words. you read the text. you study the figures and you make intelligent decisions. whether that is about war, immigration. >> and i'm going to give eamon a chance to respond. >> david's point is valid. not to make things based on emotion. the policy is driven by emotion when people evoke things that are not factually correct. a london attacker born in london, i forgot his name, i think it's adrian elms, then portrayed as a refugee, because people evoke it as an act of a refugee committing a crime and then forces a policy based on emotion. i agree with david a policy shouldn't be based on emotion. but it should also be based on fact. when you're evoking attackers that are not refugees and uzbekistan is not even on the list of countries that president trump is banning. and none of the attackers who have carried out attacks in the united states are on the list of countries that are being banned by president trump. that's not a fact-based discussion. that's an emotional discussion and that's why the picture is powerful. >> and now i want to bring you into this as well.
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if you want to talk about the emotional response that could be triggered, donald trump started off in his very first raid with a -- an action, military action, that wound up killing an 8-year-old girl, who is an american citizen. and so it all gets blended in. i mean, that image of that young girl is also added to the emotional sort of toll that's taken. and yet most americans don't even know where yemen is, and don't know why we're attacking it. >> i'm glad that we have a president who has some emotional depth and frankly, not exactly what he was portraying throughout most of the campaign. so i do appreciate his recognizing that. children are dying around the world. but the contradiction there is that doesn't necessarily line up then when any policy deliverables or even any indication that the same president understands the value of what the u.s. military can do for humanitarian intervention, or what even the government can do for its own people. i mean, this is a president who,
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while evoking babies dying, is threatening to cut meal on wheels. has produced a budget that removes almost entirely the funding for any type of diplomacy are or any type of humanitarian aid, any of the work that really would be the follow-up to such an air attack and a concerted military campaign. so what we're seeing is, yes, there is some depth of emotion here, but it is hopping from emotion to emotion, and there's not a consistent thread of any underlying strategy that will really solve the challenges that we face in the world. and that we face as a country. >> you know, i question whether or not we are qualified to even claim that donald trump has any depth of emotion. we saw a policy change that was quite quick in 24 hours. but between the story you told between the story of the ad that he did right after, where is this evidence that donald trump has some depth of emotion about this issue? >> in his own words. and maybe it's true and maybe
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it's false. i think what's interesting is, i want to -- you know, actually endorse emotion for a second. because i -- you know, as a writer, i'll tell you, if you write about 50 million people who are displaced right now, no one cares. if you individualate the victim, u arouse emotions and that's a way ofetng people to care. the problem is not that donald trump had emotions or acted with some prompting from them. the problem is that's all he seemed to have in this situation. >> right. >> emotions are a way in. they're not a strategy. >> right -- >> go on, quickly. >> it seems to be that the emotion itself is the goal in expressing that. and that's the evidence of a showman. that is not the evidence of somebody with a substantive skill set or an ability to even delegate that substantive skill set to others, to actually do the thing that makes change. >> right. and the thing i think people are worried about, eamon, it's an emotional sort of reaction that could also drag us into another iraq. >> i think, first of all, it's a theoretical performance, more so than it is an emotional one.
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i think when you take a look at, as i was saying, the actual action and what does it do in terms of marrying policy with the reality of the stated objective, which is bringing the conflict to the end, trying to topple the regime, if that is the official position of this current administration, which there is still ambiguous about. all of those things are not marrying with the action. there is no way you can say that the action taken on friday morning, somehow marries with the stated objective. but the worst thing that the united states can do, and this is something that sometimes is lost on a lot of people and decision-makers is there is no space for the middle east to once again trust the united states for another military intervention in syria. this is what makes it so hard. when you ask people, do you want this conflict to end, you say, yeah, we would love the international community to intervene. but there is a crisis of moral authority in the united states carrying out actions in the middle east. people are simply not buying it or convinced by it. and that makes the job of the united states when they want to do good, that much harder and
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much harder of a cell. >> this is what we face overseas. what we face overseas, we are the united states government and we have a long history. so blaming president obama for problems president trump is now not just a partisan speaking to a domestic audience, he is part of a continuum of american history and that's how people will be judging us. >> absolutely. i wish we had more time. thank you for sticking around. up next, the stolen seat to force neil gorsuch on to the supreme court. what does it mean for the court, the senate and more importantly, for your rights as a citizen. the great cheryl lynn eiffel will be here next. my business was built with passion... but i keep it growing by making every dollar count. that's why i have the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on all of my purchasing. and that unlimited 2% cash back from spark means
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on this vote, the ayes are 54. the nays are 45. the nomination of neil m. gorsuch of colorado to be an associate justice of the supreme court of the united states is confirmed. >> the supreme court seat stolen from president obama with 14 months left in his term was awarded to donald trump's nominee, neil gorsuch, on friday. after mitch mcconnell and senate republicans responded to the democrat's filibuster by invoking the so-called nuclear option. gorsuch will be sworn in on monday. and joining me now, sherrilyn ifill, co-counsel sill of the naacp legal defense fund which opposed his nomination. david frump and jason johnson, politics editor at the big picture, what does it mean that the republicans chose to fill the supreme court seat in this way?
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>> well, i think, obviously, this is -- this is incredibly disruptive of what has already been a dysfunctional congress. what happened to judge garland, who was president obama's nominee to fill the seat last year is unprecedented. and shocking. and i think has really forever shifted politics in the united states senate. but it also has consequences for all of us all over this country. because it took the supreme court that was headed in one direction and reversed course and brought it back to another direction, and that is the direction it was in when justice scalia sat on the court. i would argue, given judge gorsuch's record in several key areas, we are likely looking at a court that may in some areas be even more conservative than justice scalia. and what that means for america is that changes the course of american history. that changes the course of legal interpretation in this country. that changes interpretation of rights, and changes civil rights
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from our perspective. so this is not a small thing. this is a large and seismic shift in the future of this country. not only as a matter of tradition in the united states senate, but as a matter of the direction of the united states supreme court and therefore the direction of law and legal rights in this country. >> and david, you know, mitch mcconnell has been pretty transparent that he didn't care how this looked. he was going to do this, regardless. he was going to put gorsuch on the court one way or another. and i wonder how republicans sit with this idea that they -- mitch mcconnell essentially established the principle that only a republican president is allowed to make a supreme court nominee. they were also threatening to never seat a nominee if hillary clinton became president. how does the party live with that being their idea? >> i think you need some perspective on this. merrick garland was never going to be on the supreme court, even had he had the hearings, even had the vote. he would have been defeated. he would have been voted down. >> you don't know that. how do you know that?
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>> because i can count and i can count the number of republicans that were in the last congress. and it was not going to happen that republicans were going to break ranks and confirm him, any more than barack obama broke ranks to vote in favor of samuel alito. these nominations are increa increasingly partisan fights. and the seat wasn't president obama's to bestow. >> just to back up for one second. first of all, the idea that president obama essentially can take -- just the right as a president to nominate. he didn't get even meetings, garland. i don't know how you can argue that because you project that had hillary clinton won, for instance, you don't know what would have happened with the senate. nobody knows. but the idea that simply because your whip count says he wouldn't have made it -- >> he wouldn't have made it. >> it doesn't matter that he never got meetings i think is outrageous that a firm for mitch mcconnell has been arguing that most americans think is completely outrageous and
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unfair. >> here's the message i'm bringing to you. and i think it's something that is important for viewers of this show, especially. to contemplate. if you're going sustain what i regard as the true belief that donald trump is an unusual -- an exceptional, a deviant, an abnormal president, then you have to divide how you feel about him. from the things that would have happened, say, marco rubio were president right now or jeb bush, from the things that are unique to donald trump. if jeb bush had won the presidency in the same way, having lost the popular vote but winning the electoral college, he would have nominated neil gorsuch and with republican majority in the senate, gorsuch would have been confirmed. history would have played out the exact same way. there is nothing abnormal. in that other things you're seeing in the way the national security council works and other things president trump is doing, those are abnormal. if you are going to defend in a moment of pressure from the american system a unique danger, you have to not get so worked bullpen things that are the ordinary stuff in politics. >> jason? do you think this is just
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ordinary? your thoughts? >> no, none of this. and i think, joy, the key thing here is, we can't excuse the horrible behavior, the anti -- the anti democratic, the anti-american behavior of the republican party. but i think the larger lesson here is, this. it is a lesson to the democratic party to go back to their civics lessons and raid tead the rules who it is they're competing against. i wrote about this last year about how president obama flinched. he could have appointed someone to the supreme court. congress was in full recess. that person would have state in that position until the end of the year and he didn't because he was more focused on norms than winning. the republicans don't care about polls, precedent, they don't care about looking good. they want to win. and if you want to win,hat's how you have to operate in this current congress and tt's the only way you'll be able to resist donald trump. >> if you have thoughts, i want to let you say them as well, cheryl lynn. but i also want to make sure we talk about the other thing that republicans wanted to win by getting the white house. they got control of the
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department of justice and there are consequences to that, too. just like consequences to the supreme court. one of which is that jefferson sessions, the attorney general, would like to review all consent decrees. he has essentially said it's not the responsibility of the federal government to manage nonfederal law enforcement agencies. that is the principle he set forth. the one sort of good piece of news for if you care about police reform is that a judge, federal judge, has said, well, sorry, you have to implement the baltimore consent decree, at least, anyway. and i know that the legal defense fund did get involved to push that forward. your thoughts on this other reality that has resulted from trump's election. >> well, putting aside the supreme court for a moment, which is no small thing, the attorney general's position is really quite shocking. this is the chief law enforcement officer of the united states. there is a statute that was enacted for the purpose of giving department of justice the right to investigate and prosecute local police departments for law enforcement
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misconduct. in fact, it's called the law enforcement misconduct statute. it is 42 usc 14141. that is the statute that authorized department of justice to investigate the baltimore city police department, for example, and to enter into a consent decree with that police department to transform and to reform unconstitutional policing practices. so jeff sessions' view about how local law enforcement should proceed and his view about the morale of police departments and so forth is quite apart from what his statutory obligation is under that statute, to prosecute law officer and law enforcement misconduct. and what he tried to do in this case is he tried to scuttle a consent decree that had already been submitted to the federal court. and the federal district court judge in baltimore said you simply don't get to do that. department of justice negotiated this consent decree with the city of baltimore over the course of months, entered that
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consent decree, and now jeff sessions says that the president's priorities are illegal immigration, drug trafficking and violent crime. those may all be very interesting priorities. but those are not the priorities that are part of the law enforcement misconduct statute. the law enforcement misconduct statute is focused on unconstitutional policing. and that's the statute that governs the contours of the consent decree. and fortunately, the federal district judge was not having it. we have sought to intervene in the case. attorney general sessions has made it clear. he has no intentions of rigorously prosecuting the case and ensuring that the provisions of the consent decree are complied by the city. we believe it's important to ensure there is a party in the case that's prepared to do that. the residents of the city of baltimore have the right to be free of unconstitutional policing. and so we're seeking to intervene in the case. >> i wish we had more time. i feel like i'm going to just say that over and over and over again before this two hours is up. sherrilyn ifill, thank you. thank you all for being here.
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up next on thursday night, there was a near universal wave of approval from the media for donald trump's decision to bomb syria. we're going to ask, why does that always seem to happen when presidents choose military action. we will discuss the pavlovian response. before we go, and i'm sorry to throw a curveball to my team. i want to play jeff sessions' justification for why it is he doesn't think it's important to implement these consent decrees against police departments. >> unfortunately in recent years law enforcement as a whole has too often been unfairly maligned and blamed for the crimes and unacceptable deeds of a few in their ranks. amid this intense public scrutiny and criticism, morale has gone down.
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>> good evening. it is the beginning of another day. it is friday morning, 7:00 a.m., in baghdad, and throughout iraq it's also 7:00 a.m. in equakuwa as well. and military targets there will be hearing and feeling the destruction of operation desert storm. >> for 43 days in early 1991, the united states' first war in the persian gulf was the original reality tv. day after day, millions tuned in for the operation desert storm show as u.s. military bombardments and iraqy scud missile attacks was brought live into our living rooms. thanks to cnn, the only 24 hours game in town back then for the first time in television history, an american war was beamed into homes all around the world, around the clock. the gulf war came complete with its own cast of heroes and villains. they were the correspondents whose career-defining coverage made them into household names. or in the case of nbc news
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arthur kent, aka, the scud stud, sex symbols. there was the gruff but kind of loveable mission commander general stormin' norman schwarzkopf whose updates elevated him to celebrity status. then there was iraqi leader saddam hussein, whose occupation of kuwait, we were told, would expand into a middle east invasion, unless the u.s. did something to stop him. and we watched this entire cast of characters play their parts against the backdrop of pentagon provided footage that put the best possible face on the mission. you saw the flashes and the smoke as the bombs went up but never the severed limbs and carnage when they landed. years later when the u.s. once again waded into a conflict in the middle east, the iraq war became the shiny on the news media just could not resist, thanks to improved broadcast technology and unprecedented access. in fact, the news media were so captivated with operation during freedom the technology --
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remember, the moab, the mother of all bombs and shock and awe, and so captivated the media for a long time missed the real story of the u.s. invasion of iraq. that the war that cost more than $2 trillion and hundreds and thousands of lives were based -- was based on a weapons of mass destruction claim that was completely and utterly false. it's a lesson that the media would be wise to remember this week as we turn our focus from the very real scandal of donald trump's russia ties to the shiny object of trump's assault. more on thein sayingable war coverage with my panel, next. l, l, in reality they're not. if a denture were to be put under a microscope, we can see all the bacteria that still exists on the denture, and that bacteria multiplies very rapidly. that's why dentists recommend cleaning with polident everyday. polident's unique micro clean formula works in just 3 minutes, killing 99.99% of odor causing bacteria.
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what changed last night? >> i think donald trump became president of the united states. >> there's a new sheriff in town. and you know what, the new sheriff wants to look like robo cop compared to the last one. >> i think the moment when someone becomes president of the
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united states is the moment when they first use american military. >> that is a decisive use of american power. >> we not only took out a syrian air force pace base, we took out a terrorist air strip. >> that montage from media matters was just a small sampling of the media's fawning praise of donald trump's air strikes in syria. joining me now, eric bolart and joe conson. thank you for beinger who. dan rather had some worst and thoughts about this whole thing. and he wrote in part, the number of members of the press who have lauded the actions last night as presidential's concerning, war must never be considered a public relations operation. its full impact is impossible to predict, especially in the wake of the first strike. isn't the reality back to the first gulf war, the first time we saw embeds, reporters put into the mission so that they almost felt like a part of it. it is a way for an
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administration to get the media on their side, isn't it? >> yeah, is there a long history of it. ronald reagan, the panama with george bush senior. these small incursions that will, you know -- they're not massive employments of troops, but they'll, you know, grab the news cycle for four or five days, maybe a couple weeks. and so you know, you showed that clip of the first gulf war. but it's really the second one that goes down in history. that was almost a two-year collapse of really what the media should do in the united states, which is tell the truth. that was really kind of a lap dog chapter in the american press. so, sure, you know, if you drop bombs, you're going to get good press. in the short-term. and so we're already seeing this narrative from the white house kind of unraveling in terms of what was the outcome. you know, what did this accomplish? was this air field even destroyed or did they use it that night? so in short term, yes. long-term, you have to show that you've accomplished something, i think. >> and, you know, joe, the challenge for journalists, of
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course, is that you know, war coverage for a lot of people is sort of cool. they think this is sort of action coverage and irresistible to the media to do action coverage. but to the very point of that second gulf war, the media completely missed the fact the purpose of the war was a lie and it took a while to catch up. so are we in this business in danger of being captured by the action and missing the story? >> well, clearly, that's what's happened. that's happened over and over again. it's disgraceful that anybody would say you have become president by taking a -- using a military strike. you become president because you're elected president. and you take the oath of office. and you swear to defend the constitution. that's when you become president. and how you act after that defines whether you're respected as president or not. not because you decided to launch an air strike against somebody, for good reason or bad. so i think that kind of rhetoric is appalling. and to hear somebody talk in that clip about how -- well, they took out a terrorist air base. no, they didn't.
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there are planes taking off from there now. so they need to get control of themselves and get a grip, okay? and there are people on there that i respect. but they need to, you know, understand what they're really talking about. because people take cues from that kind of rhetoric that's extremely dangerous. >> you hit on a thing that is a pet peeve of mine. this idea of donald trump became president. he keeps becoming president by doing things that approximate normal to people. so what is this tick that people in this business have that they are desperate, almost, for donald trump to, quote, become presidential and to approximate normal? what is this about? >> it's very important. and this is an ongoing crisis, almost, the press has. they are desperate to present him as normal. he's not. he's never going to be. they didn't have to pretend obama was presidential. or even presidents before that. this is unique to trump. we saw it when he addressed congress, right? this kind of very radical agenda. but the pundits like the optics, the language. he became president. you know, it was a pivot in things like that. so trump does not operate the
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way any other president has. in modern times. or ever. but the press seems anxious to drag him into the mainstream. so when there is a glimmer, when there is a glimpse of him doing something normal, they kind of pounce on it, right? so the narrative is, he had this epiphany. he saw these images of these children, and sort of -- he was like this grinch-type figure. his heart grew three times. that was the storyline. there is projection. because that's how a president is supposed to act, so we're going to pretend trump is normal. but it doesn't add up, right? because we already know, he's no the letting these syrian refugees into the united states. so he hasn't had an epiphany. he used them -- he demonized them throughout the entire campaign. but the press really wants him to be normal. they really want him in particular to be presidential. and because then they don't have to acknowledge how radical -- >> how radical. and two things there that i want joe to pick up on. one, is this idea that this becoming president, both times, were around something to do with
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the military. either acknowledging the widow of the navy s.e.a.l. killed in his operation, that he called for. that, and then this other idea that -- well, actually just deal with that. and we'll see -- >> look, this requires some self examination among male journalists and why they think that these, you know -- let's not even get into the symbolism of firing missiles and all of that -- makes a male president president, okay? i'll tell you what makes somebody president. it's to use the powers of office in a way that actually advances our interests, both in national security and other ways. and that does not mean turning around. first of all, encouraging assad to do this with the announcement that we're no longer have a policy interest in removing him in a negotiation. but then, turning around in 48 hours, and just launching missiles as if that's going to solve a problem, which it won't. no. being president means you have a plan. you have a strategy. you decide how to do things in
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advance. you do what -- for instance, clinton did in kosovo, or the first president bush did in the first gulf war. which is to organize around congressional authorization, around the united nations, among our nato partners. that's what being president is, okay? and the sooner people like that stop talking about these missile launches and other sort of military actions, as the proof of the -- you know, the masculine presidency, the country will be a lot better off. they need to get a grip on themselves and go lie on a couch and talk to somebody about it. >> and the second thing i was going to say is that as journalists, i think we really need to understand that the only evidence we have that donald trump had this epiphany, this emotional moment, is statements from donald trump's people. we have no objective evidence of anything. we just know he changed his mind. we need to stop projecting as to why and saying it's because he suddenly grew a heart. because we don't have journalistic proof of that. eric bolllard and conson.
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you got next? chase. helping you master what's now and what's next. since election day, the resistance movement opposing donald trump's agenda has reached historic proportions. the day after trump's inauguration, the women's march on washington was dubbed the largest single-day demonstration in history with an estimated 4.2 million protesters taking part nationwide. after trump's muslim ban, thousands of demonstrators filled airports to show their support for immigrants. will new protests erupt if donald trump escalates his syria air strikes into a full-on war. the founder of moral mondays joins me next to discuss.
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. somebody hurting my brother and it's gone on far too long and we can't be silent anymore. somebody hurting my sister and
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somebody is hurting the muslims and somebody is hurting gay people and somebody is hurting the poor and somebody is hurting the immigrants and somebody is hurting the black people and somebody is hurting the children and somebody is trying to take health care, somebody is trying to take voting rights, and we won't be silent anymore. we can't be silent anymore. >> and that was the reverend dr. william barber on riverside church on sunday commemorating the 50th anniversary of martin luther king jr.'s landmark beyond vietnam speech and he's here with me to elaborate more on that same somebody who just launched air strikes into syria. reverend barber, one of the reasons i am sad that i work on sundays is i miss things like that. that speech is incredible and those who haven't seen it should watch it online, you can t youtube of it. but the message that you have brought to the table is this idea that it isn't right and left, it's right and wrong, it's moral and immoral. what do you make of this
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narrative that donald trump has suddenly found his heart and that's why he bombed syria? >> it's a strange ethic, strange moral. you bomb assad for killing children, but then you deny refugees, families and children. you deport and tear apart immigrant families and children. you build walls that will hurt children. you want to take health care that will cause death. you support denying medicaid that's causing death. 15 to 2500 for every 500,000 denied. you fight living wages when we know that poverty accord to a study by the school of public policy kills more people than cancer and heart attacks. you talk about expanding a military budget already at $54 billion, you want to expand while you cut medicaid and social programs. dr. king would say and i would agree that whenever bombing makes you presidential, supposedly, and somehow makes an
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unqualified person in every other way presidential, we are headed toward a kind of spiritual death and a moral deficit. we have to refrain. this kind of knee-jerk action is not presidential. it's the antithesis of what it means to be presidential. >> and, you know, dr. king in his riverside speech in 1967, the day before he was assassinated, he was breaking from an administration, the lyndon johnson administration, that had passed the war on poverty, that had passed the great society programs, that had passed landmark civil rights legislation, but he broke with them over what he saw as an immoral war. do you believe that the movement, the moral mondays movement, the movement for moral justice that you're leading will have the same passion on issues of war and peace or is it connected, as you just made it, to these issues of harm to the poor? >> it has to be. racism, poverty and militarism,
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they're interconnected then, they're interconnected now. in that sermon i tried to lay out when silence is not an option, because remember dr. king talked about silence is betrayal. that's why one of the reasons why this last week we announced the souls of poor folks auditing america since the racism, poverty, militarism and national morality and we are auditing america. i believe the only way we can challenge what we see with this trumpism is not just him, is to reimagine, reengage the poor people's campaign and finish it like dr. king intended it. that's where we're headed. poor people, poor children's campaign that will challenge the continuing realities of systemic racism, poverty, militarism, and this whole focus on national morality. when you can -- people say you're being presidential when
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you bomb people? now, remember, these are the same people that when assad killed 1500 people viciously and president obama asked the congress to vote to go to war, they said no. this is just some kind of eerie situational ethics that's more about politics and cover-up than it is about really protecting lives and caring about people. >> and how do we get this debate past partisanship? >> well, one of the things is we have to reframe it. i was just in nashville, tennessee, just the other day, about 150 people, black, white, young, old, latino, different parties coming together around a moral agenda. you know, for instance, in nashville, in the statehouse in tennessee, for every holy week for the last three years, they have denied medicaid expansion. people are saying, wait a minute, we've got to challenge this. so we have to have a moral perspective that's bigger than a partisan perspective and go after the heart and soul of the
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nation. >> those of you who are interested in hearing more about what reverend dr. william barber is doing, i follow him on twitter. it is revdrbarber. thank you, sir, we really always appreciate your time. >> thank you so much. god bless. >> thank you. that is our show for today. join us tomorrow. up next, sheinelle jones has a closer look at the trump administration's sudden reversal on syria, as a key congressional credit i weighs in. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced,dit i. oui weighs in.c weighs in. our hearts racing as one. i know this is sudden, but they say: if you love something... set it free. see you around, giulia ♪
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hello, i'm sheinelle jones at msnbc world headquarters in new york. it's high noon in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west. here's what's happening. the inside story on the decision to strike syria. a new report on what led to the u.s. military action in that country. russia reacts, now sending a warship to the area from where the u.s. fired those missiles.


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